After all the anticipation, Super Bowl XLVIII was finally played last night. In an absolute route, the Seattle Seahawks annihilated the Denver Broncos 43-8. From the first snap of the game Denver looked disheveled and unorganized.
In the aftermath of this defeat, many called Peyton Mannings legacy into question. While Manning did not play a good game by any stretch, all credit is due to Seattle for playing one of the best and most complete games of football in quite some time.
Lets start with the pass rush. A crucial key to the Seahawks winning this game was for the defensive line to bring pressure to Peyton Manning. Unlike Denvers last opponent, the New England Patriots, the Seahawks did an absolutely stellar job with this. Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, and Cliff Avril kept Peyton uncomfortable all night. This discomfort caused Manning to throw two costly interceptions. As Avril said, “Once they start thinking about the rush instead of your defensive backs, you’ll get turnovers and you’ll make plays.”
The next step to this win was the Seahawks secondary. While not great when it came to the short pass, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and the rest of the Legion Of Boom shut down the deep passing game entirely. The longest reception for Denver was a 23 yard catch by Demaryius Thomas. When you don’t allow the Broncos to go vertical, you will have great success.
Special credit in this game goes to Super Bowl MVP Malcom Smith. The 7th round pick from USC recorded 10 tackles, a pick six, and a fumble recovery. He played the ball well and did a nice job on the blitz.
While not enough praise cannot be given to the defense, the offense is also due credit. Denver did a very good job shutting down Marshawn Lynch. Lynch was held to 39 yards on 15 carries. Beast Mode did punch in a touchdown, but for the most part, Denver did a good job against the run.
Russell Wilson and the rest of the offense had to step up due to this and they did so with flying colors. Wilson was fantastic in and out of the pocket; throwing for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns. Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin got good space against the Denver secondary and their stats reflected that.
MVP of the offense has to go to Percy Harvin. In his first full game of the season, Harvin made plays all over the field. He ran the ball two times for 45 yards, made one reception for 5 yards, and returned an 87 yard kickoff for a touchdown. The former Florida Gators presence created mismatch and created terror in the eyes of the Broncos defense.
Did Peyton Manning have a bad game; absolutely. What did everyone expect though? The old saying goes that defense wins championships and it showed last night. As the number one defense in the league, Richard Sherman, Cliff Avril and the rest of the Seattle Seahawks played exactly how they did every other game and it worked. As Dennis Green said “They Are Who We Thought They Were!”
By: Gary Younger